Saturday, March 12, 2011

Future of the textbooks: Publisher view

The Chronicle has a 9 minute podcast interview of William D. Rieders, executive vice president for new media at the publishing company Cengage Learning. It is a worthwhile podcast to listen to as it lays out some of where publishers see the future of etextbooks -- and it is not the PDF of the traditional textbook. As with many publishers, the company is focusing on interactive software programs -- like assessment tools and study tools.

One of the best quotes, also quoted in the summary:

Print textbooks are still healthy, but they function now as a reference for professors and students, while these other materials are taking center stage in the learning experience.
That the core function for textbooks is recognized as changing should be of concern to anyone whose core business is selling that product. It signals that the time is right to be moving toward models and capabilities that enable selling the "replacement product." Cengage has been very innovative in the past couple years, as have some of the other educational publishers, in experimenting and testing out different approaches to what the future of digital course materials might really look like.

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